Structure and dynamics of condensed DNA probed by 1,1'-(4,4,8,8-tetramethyl-4,8-diazaundecamethylene)bis[4-[[3- methylbenz-1,3-oxazol-2-yl]methylidine]-1,4-dihydroquinolinium] tetraiodide fluorescence.

PMID 12484766


Information on the structure and dynamics of condensed forms of DNA is important in understanding both natural situations such as DNA packaging and artificial systems such as gene delivery complexes. We have established the fluorescence of bisintercalator 1,1'-(4,4,8,8-tetramethyl-4,8-diazaundecamethylene)bis[4-[[3-methylbenz-1,3-oxazol-2-yl]methylidine]-1,4-dihydroquinolinium] tetraiodide (YOYO-1) as a novel probe for DNA condensation. When the level of DNA-bound YOYO-1 is sufficiently large, condensation by either polyethylenimine (PEI) or the cationic detergent cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) leads to electronic interaction among YOYO-1 molecules bound on the same DNA molecule. This interaction results in an excitonic blue shift of the absorption spectra of YOYO-1 and dramatic decrease in the fluorescence quantum yield. These observations constitute a signature of the condensation of DNA. We further examined the comparative properties of DNA condensed by PEI, CTAB, or Co(NH(3))(6)(3+) through the steady-state and dynamic fluorescence of YOYO-1. Condensation by either PEI or CTAB was associated with a blue shift in the absorption spectra of YOYO-1, although the magnitude of the shift was larger in the case of PEI when compared to that of CTAB. In contrast, condensation by Co(NH(3))(6)(3+) was not associated with a measurable shift in the absorption spectra. These results were interpreted as signifying the varying level of compactness of the DNA condensates. Quenching of fluorescence by acrylamide showed that condensation by all three agents led to an increase in the level of solvent exposure of the base pairs. Observation of the decay of fluorescence intensity and anisotropy of DNA-bound YOYO-1 showed that while condensation by either PEI or CTAB froze the segmental mobility of the helix, condensation by Co(NH(3))(6)(3+) enhanced the flexibility of DNA. The relevance of our findings to functions such as efficiency of gene delivery is discussed.